The excitement generated by the J2A youth trips to the Dominican Republic continues to be a wonderful inspiration for the entire St. Luke's parish. In 2008, St. Luke's decided to substantially increase its outreach spending in response to extending our outreach. The Vestry, together with the Stewardship and Finance committees, recognized that many in the congregation wanted to make a difference, not just within the walls of St. Luke's, but in the greater world beyond.
We identified three areas that fit within our stewardship mission to "reach out" and "change lives" while in the process "renewing" our own faith.
Bringing Our D.R. Mission Home
Next, we decided to begin a relationship with St. George's, Central Falls. For a decade now, we have sent our youth groups to the Dominican Republic on mission trips. The life-changing experiences of our returning missioners have been inspiring. In an effort to make more of that connection here at home, we pledged to work with the largely Dominican congregation of St. George's. We have begun this by working at a meal-site that is housed in their church —- real hands-on outreach —- as well as donating food for their community food cupboard. Other needs are being assessed as we move forward.
Building Faith, Building a House
The third leg of our outreach plan was to increase our support for Habitat for Humanity. Habitat is an organization that provides basic affordable housing to working families who might never otherwise enjoy home ownership. It is a hand up, not a hand out. A recipient family must contribute 400 hours of "sweat equity" toward the building of their home and then pay a monthly mortgage payment. In other words, adult family members work with volunteers to build the very house that will one day be theirs. Some of the building material is donated and much of the labor is volunteer, but not all. In 2008, St. Luke's will give $20,000 to Habitat for Humanity, West Bay, toward the building of a home. By the end of this three-year stewardship effort, Renewing Faith, Reaching Out, Changing Lives, we plan to have given Habitat two more payments of $20,000, enough to fund an entire house.
Not surprisingly, all of these efforts come with a financial cost. Spending on these three endeavors, combined with our regular parish budget, will exceed our income in the short term. We have adopted year-round stewardship awareness to maintain our focus on these endeavors and invite all to get involved — with their hearts, their time, and their financial commitment. Join us as we work to do great things in response to all the great things that God has given us.
Get Involved. Make a Difference!
Want more information?Contact the Wardens, or talk to the Rector.
- Participate in St. Luke's worship services
- Make a pledge to St. Luke's
- Bring in nonperishable foods for the food pantry at St. Luke's and St. George's, Central Falls
- Volunteer at the soup kitchen at St. George's or Grace-Epiphany, Providence
- Take part in a St. Luke's workday at a Habitat for Humanity project